Why Listening to Music is Good for the Elderly

Everybody loves listening to music and for good reason, as it evokes great memories, it can provide inspiration and it immediately lightens our mood. We all know that feeling when we put on our favorite song and for the next 15 minutes, we feel like we are dancing on air. Other types of music can make us feel sad, whereas a particularly atmospheric piece might leave us with goosebumps. The point, though, is that music can bring out a whole array of positive emotions especially in the vulnerable and the elderly, so here we are going to take a look at why listening to music is so beneficial for seniors.

It can inspire movement

Elderly people are often confined to a chair or their bed due to their age and it is important that they try to get as much exercise as possible to help promote blood flow throughout their bodies, and a great way to instill movement is to listen to music. The very nature of music is that it is uplifting and no matter who is listening they will always be tapping their feet or clapping their hands as they sway to the rhythm. Even these small movements can be incredibly beneficial to the elderly so next time you are visiting your grandmother ask her what her favorite tune is and dance away listening to it together.

To aid concentration and memory 

As we know the elderly suffer from many ailments such as Alzheimer’s disease which can lead to frustrations and cause agitation and stress. Well, due to its calming nature music can be a great tool to use to alleviate these symptoms and help you to calm down and think positively. Furthermore, listening to music can help with memory loss and concentration as it promotes the processing speed of the brain which in turn allows you to think more clearly, which is a great aid to those who are struggling with amnesia.

Improve speech

It is no surprise that many therapists use music when trying to improve elderly patient’s speech and reasoning skills, especially when they suffer from dementia because it can inspire people to communicate in non-verbal ways such as by humming. Judith from healthcare specialists Arcare recommends that background music is always played in care homes or hospices as it can stimulate certain areas of the brain which will help residents to communicate with each other. Social interaction is key at an advanced age so simply by playing music you will be improving the quality of life and possibly even the life expectancy of your loved ones.

For motivation

Everybody struggles with motivation at some point in their lives, and this is certainly no different when you reach an advanced age because it can seem that you have nothing to live for if you wake up and have the same routine every single day. By starting the day with a piece of classical music it will immediately lift your spirits and inspire you to do something different, it will perhaps even get you moving which has a whole host of additional benefits as we previously discovered. Even if you are just motivated to walk outside and sit in the garden it is a great start as you will be able to take in the singing of the birds and the sights and smells of nature, which will fill you with positivity for the day ahead. 

Music is Good for the Elderly - Playing Instruments

For togetherness

Even in our youth, we have all experienced how music can promote togetherness, just think back to what happens at a house party or disco when a banging tune is played; the whole crowd will get up as one and dance and sing together. Well, this is no different for the elderly, especially if they live in a communal building because when music is played people will congregate together to listen and perhaps even dance which is great stimulation for the aged. Hiring a musician can further aid a sense of inclusion as they will unite everybody in the room with songs and laughter thereby promoting a sense of well being. 

As we have discovered there are many reasons why listening to music can be beneficial for the elderly as it can help to inspire movement and togetherness. There is nothing worse than being stuck alone in your chair or bed all day so by playing some uplifting music you can help lift their mood and provide them with motivation for the day ahead. Music can also promote memory and cognitive responses by stimulating areas of the brain relating to these activities, and it will help to give a sense of togetherness as it brings together elements of the community. So, play some music and lift everybody’s spirits!

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Team Parle

The collective team of Parlé Magazine. Twitter: @parlemag

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